Johanna Morrigan decides that to make it in the world she must reinvent herself as the outrageously extroverted Dolly Wilde, a reinvention which results in Johanna truly learning who she wants to be and what personal development really means. “I have made my notes, now, you see, on how to build a girl… you fake it ‘til you make it.”
This often-explicit novel is full of raucous language and the sexual awakening and experiences of Johanna Morrigan. From masturbating in her childhood bedroom to having sex with fellow journalists in London, Caitlin Moran is refreshingly open about female sexuality through the eyes of the book’s protagonist.
Alongside the unforgettable Johanna Morrigan, Moran has also written a cast of brilliant support characters including; her sweet younger brother Lupin, her drunken but loveable Father, her Mother whose battle with mental health is touched upon, her colleagues at the D&ME, and her older brother Krissi, with whom she shares a heart-warming bond of friendship and sibling mockery.
As well as having a light and comedic air, the book also pulls heavily on the more serious topics of poverty, austerity, and benefits in 90s Wolverhampton, which is sadly still a reality in many communities today. But it also holds a note of hope, which is still very much relevant in contemporary society, that no matter how small you feel, you are not insignificant. Moran writes, “I saw what an achievement it was – the will of a small, countable number of men and women, who wrote, and though, and marched and sang.”